Grafton dancers featured in ‘The Nutcracker’

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(l to r) Caitlin Clarke, 14; Taylor Oskin, 15; Hanna Moy, 13; Elizabeth Buonomo, 12; and Elise Drake, 10.
Photo/submitted

Worcester – Five local dancers from the Grafton area will perform in the Hanover Theatre and Conservatory for the Performing Arts’ annual production of “The Nutcracker” Friday, Nov. 29, to Sunday, Dec. 1.

More than 200 students auditioned for the production this year, a number that continues to grow as the show gets bigger. In addition to professional dancers from Orlando Ballet and Ellison Ballet Company, The Nutcracker will feature over 100 students from across Central Massachusetts.

The dancers from Grafton are Taylor Oskin, 15, of Grafton High School as a maid; Caitlin Clarke, 14, as a soldier, Hanna Moy, 13, as a member of the Flower Corps de Ballet, and Elizabeth Buonomo, 12, as a party girl, all of Grafton Middle School; and Elise Drake, 10, of North Street Elementary School as a Polichinelle.

The show is undergoing a major design transformation this year. Audiences will be the first to experience all-new scenic and lighting designs by Broadway’s Christine Peters and Paul Miller, made possible by a gift of $202,000 from Mary C. DeFeudis, honorary director of the theatre’s board of directors and an original founding member from the theatre’s 2008 opening.

“The Nutcracker is a signature show for the theatre,” DeFeudis said. “It inspires our young performers to reach for their dreams. I am happy to enhance our annual production of this timeless show and to encourage our talented teachers and students.”

Complete with live music from The Hanover Theatre Nutcracker Orchestra, “The Nutcracker” is a two-act ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky first performed in Russia in December 1892 and based on the stories of E.T.A. Hoffmann and Alexandre Dumas. The story revolves around Clara, a young girl who receives a nutcracker doll as a Christmas gift and then enters a magical world where the Nutcracker and other characters come to life.

Tickets to “The Nutcracker” start at $32, with discounts available for theatre members and groups of 10 or more. Tickets are available online at TheHanoverTheatre.org, by phone at 877-571-7469 or at The Hanover Theatre box office, 2 Southbridge St., Worcester.